Ten Thoughts for Monday Morning
1) For the first time in a while I sense at least a glimmer of optimism. I'm not sure football season is going to happen. But in talking to different people over the last few days, I kind of feel for the first time in a while like they're at least going to try. A big part of that is obviously that they have to. They really don't have a choice. Everything kind of falls apart with no football. We've talked about that a lot. But I'm also seeing some testing numbers that are reason for optimism. I think the Big 12, ACC and SEC are purposely waiting as long as they can before making any pronouncements or concrete decisions. I think they've got another ten days. Those ten days are critical. Come about August 1, there are going to have to be some more concrete plans. If we can see numbers go down, see death rates decline, see some of these places not be forced to shut back down, I think we have a chance at a college football season. i'm not sure how good a chance. I don't think fans will be there, at least at the start. But I think there's at least a chance. It's the first time I've felt that way in a long time.
2) Part of my personal optimism comes from the NCAA guidelines that were released last week. Upon first glance, like many, I thought "How are they going to play given these restrictions?" But the more I thought about it, there are loopholes here. It's really not hard to make sure nobody is within six feet of each other without a mask for 15 minutes at a time. Practice periods are generally broken into five to eight minute intervals. Just rearrange drills so that you're not doing anything in close quarters for 15 minutes. Space out the dining hall or give to go meals. Space out meetings or do them on zoom. It actually is doable.
It's also going to be very easy for programs to say "Yeah, we had everyone spaced out. This guy tested positive, but there were only three other guys close to him and those were guys he lives with." Far be it from me to suggest that players or programs might be flexible with the truth in situations like this, but it's something you have to at least consider.The toughest issue, as always, isn't practice. It's all the hours the players spend elsewhere. Are they staying six feet apart? Are they avoiding parties? Are they not hanging out 12 in an apartment playing video games and eating pizza? Can you trust them to do the right thing or, if they don't, to be honest that they didn't do the right thing and provide accurate information for contract tracing? Maybe. I don't know. I have a kid that just graduated from college. I don't have much faith he and his friends have gone about everything the way that would be required to play college football in a month. So I think it's possible...but I don't think it's easy.
3) Regardless, I don't think the season starts on time.